Publishers: Haymon Verlag

Haymon Verlag was established in 1982 by the historian, journalist and author Michael Forcher as a non-fiction publishing company. The publisher is named after the ‘Giant Haymon’ who, according to an old legend, founded the Stift Wilten monastery near Innsbruck in the eighth century. It was one of the first cultural centres in the region now known as the Tyrol. Since 1988, Haymon has primarily published German-language and international literature. Haymon Verlag has been a subsidiary of the Studienverlag since September 2004.



Haymon Verlag

Erlerstraße 10, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Contact: Anna Stock

Tel: 0043 512 576300 21


The Reason We Remain
Warum wir noch hier sind

Haymon Verlag
September 2023 / 240pp
Sample Translation here
by Eleanor Updegraff


A thoughtfully crafted counterpoint to two well-known literary tropes, Warum wir noch hier sind is an anti-thriller, anti-Berlin novel about life in the wake of unimaginable trauma. Defiantly literary with a distinctly satirical undertone, it focuses on the human impact of violent crime rather than clever detective work.

In the wake of her fourteen-year-old daughter Etty’s random murder just a few paces from her own front door, Heide must work out how to go on living. Narrated from the perspective of her closest friend, Warum wir noch hier sind adopts a fragmented structure and economical prose that seems influenced by Pelny’s background as a poet and singer-songwriter. Moving away from a conventional linear timeline, it instead reflects life as we live it: a collection of vivid impressions, thoughts and experiences that sometimes overlap, repeat or otherwise refuse to conform to a neat narrative pattern. 

Between bouts of looking after Heide, mourning Etty and trying to keep herself afloat in a perilous freelance role (as a casting assistant for the reality TV show The Farmer Wants a Wife), the narrator has a close relationship with her grandmother, who lives now in sheltered housing. As a blood relative, the grandmother stands in marked contrast to most other characters in the novel, who together constitute Heide’s “elected family” of friends and neighbours. This choice of cast – mainly female friends who love one another fiercely – is another way in which Pelny subverts traditional narratives while reflecting how many people live today.

Despite the fact that it hinges on a murder, this light-on-plot novel is concerned with emotions rather than events, about what and whom we choose to value, and how to piece a life back together when it has been ripped apart by violence and grief. It also asks a series of universally pertinent questions about what society and governments are – or are not – doing to ensure women’s safety, especially in cities and after dark.

Pelny presents Berlin – a perennially popular setting – in an unglorified yet authentic light, depicting the city’s darker sides without glamorising the grit. Warum wir noch hier sind is a refreshing, moving and provocative take on established genres that gives a voice to those who often go unheard.

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about the author

Marlen Pelny has posted poems on placards in German cities and has published two volumes of poetry, Auftakt [Upbeat] (2013) and Wir müssen noch die Tiere erschlagen [We still need to slay the animals] (2013). She expresses herself not only on walls and on paper, but also through music, with her band Zuckerklub. Her debut novel Liebe / Liebe [Love / Love] (2021), for which she was awarded the Klopstock Prize in 2022, is suffused with her characteristic poetic clarity. Her second novel, Warum wir noch hier sind [Why we’re still here] deals with connection.

Previous works: Liebe/Liebe, Haymon (2021)

Instagram: @marlenpelny

rights information

Haymon Verlag

Contact: Eva Ganzer

translation assistance

Applications should be made to the Goethe-Institut.

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